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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why "Lattoo" from "Ghajini" is my favorite AR Rahman song in recent times


WARNING - LONG !!

I know a lot of you may go - "WHAAAAAAAT ?!!" on seeing the title of my post and ridicule my music taste ...and some ARRtards who happen to check my blog for "pure ROFL relief", have another "comedy post" ready for them ...but yeah, say what you want, laugh how much ever you want ...fact remains - this is my favorite AR Rahman song in recent times :) ...



Before getting to why I like the song, let me talk about my music taste a little -

1. I like SIMPLE music, centered on a soulful tune, comprising orchestration which follows a definite pattern, thereby successfully engaging me in a particular mood / feel ...

2. I like songs which are largely based on minor chords...I somehow feel they provide more of a haunting / soothing factor than the ones with major chords...

3. Except for a few songs, I hate the use of brass and other sounds that are high on techno quotient ...I really feel they tend to kill the soul of the song's tune....Except for a couple of cases may be, I also HATE auto-tune...IMO, a truly awesome singer should be able to infuse life into a song on his own i.e. SPB, Hariharan, Alka Yagnik, Chitra etc ...can you even think of how excruciatingly horrible and painful these voices would sound if auto-tuned ?? Thank God, the auto-tuning of SPB's voice in Pudhiya Manidha was restricted to the chorus alone, else, it would've been a case of Rahman shooting himself in the foot - spoiling such an awesome composition with a robotic voice made of SPB, of all people ...

These are the main reasons why I often tend to like songs of Harris Jayaraj, Dharan ..SOME songs of GV Prakash ( Akkam PakkamPookal PookumVizhigalil Oru VaanavilUyirin Uyire...to name a few )....I love the songs of Yuvan where he pays more attention to the tune, than the electronic-techno feel ..e.g. Paiya, Kunguma Poovum Konjam Puravum, Sarvam, Kazhugu, Boss Engira Bhaskaran etc ...let's leave the subject of his not-so-appreciable singing aside ...that's another subject altogether ...I'm talking only about his compositions....I hardly ever like Thaman's songs, because most of them rely heavily on auto-tune and techno sounds ...Again, I only like those songs where the rhythms are catchy & where minor chords are prominent - songs of Osthe, Aathaadi aathadi from Ayyanaar, Mazhaye mazhaye from Eeram etc ...the feel induced by the minor chord progressions makes me overlook the other drawbacks in such cases ....

Let's come to my personal favorite ....Let's leave the issue of originality and reuse aside ...that's another subject altogether ...But when you look at the general structure of a Harris song - the thing which appeals most, at least to me, is its simplicity ...every sound is simple, his orchestration is almost always simple to decipher, very very basic in nature - a standard set of instruments, every transition is smooth ...nothing ever seems abrupt ...every song successfully engages you in a feel-good state of mind ...of course, predictability is another factor - you pretty much know how the song is going to go, except for some rare cases ( like the violin interlude in Unakkul Naane - that was out of the blue )....again, the fact his songs are predictable & his orchestration is hardly ever different is one of the reasons why he is in the center of a hate-storm ...anyways, this post isn't about that...so I won't talk about that :)...

So, being an impatient, simple, not-that-much-of-an-intellectual guy ....all I need & like is some simple, soulful music ...which can instantly relax my small brain ...to which I can unwind ...and hum along ...and resonate with .....so Harris songs almost always do the job for me :) .....You may laugh and say I deserve to listen to songs of SA Rajkumar in that case :D ...but let me repeat, only good tunes work for me :) ...substandard tunes do not ...

Coming to AR Rahman's songs these days ...most of his songs are random and experimental in nature ...you JUST CANNOT predict or even guess how an ARR song will possibly turn out ...each ARR song constructs a world of its own, leaving you with way too much to notice ...Now, it's not that Rahman has never been experimental ...he ALWAYS has ...BUT, there's a difference - In the 90s and at least until Boys & Aayutha Ezhuthu ...IMO, his priority appeared to be tunes & only then came experimentation, in the form of different sounds, interludes etc etc ....Think Alai Payuthey, think Kandukondein Kandukondein, think Rhythm, Dil Se...I can go on and on ...In ALL of these albums, it appears to me that Rahman's primary focus has always been on coming up with an up-to-the-brim or above-the-brim soulful tune, refining it to the best possible extent ....and then coming up with extraordinary layers, sounds, interludes and other things ...In other words, prior to Boys and Ayudha Ezhuthu ...the LIFE of an AR Rahman song ALWAYS lay in its tune & singers ...There is a CERTAIN MAGIC which each singer brings to the songs - Sadhna Sargam for Snehidhane, Chitra for Kannalane, Swarnalatha for Evano Oruvan, Shankar Mahadevan for Thaniye & Enna Solla Pogiraai ...AR Rahman himself for Vellai PookalDil Se Re....Songs seem to have been made with a particular singer in mind .....Think Lagaan , which IMO, shall always be the best set of music/magic Rahman has EVER come up with ...it is unmatchable by ANYONE ...IMO....Even as a Harris devotee, I can safely say that Harris will NEVER be able to do a Lagaan ...( I'd only be happy if he, by a miracle, proves me wrong though! ) ....Lagaan had the best set of tunes ever ...only then came in the orchestration and other things ...

However, post-Boys & Aayudha Ezhuthu ....the LIFE of an ARR song always seemed / seems to lie in its RANDOMNESS / UNPREDICTABILITY / UNIQUENESS more than anything else ...Very few songs actually have a soul in them, IMO ...by soul, I mean, a DEFINITE tune ...which doesn't randomly meander away in all directions or abruptly change from a minor setting to a major setting ....I think ARR's focus, on a large scale, has been to just come up with different, experimental, unique stuff & use unique sounds ....and not-so-much on the actual tune of the song ...which is why you hardly find ANY patterns, any definite tunes ..There are exceptions ...and I shall be mentioning them soon :)

So the main reasons I find to appreciate ARR's music these days, IMO are - uniqueness, unpredictability, EXTREME COMPLEXITY of structuring .....which explains a lot - why Rahman's songs these days are too difficult to play ...or hum....or even remember !!!! It takes A LOT of time for the song to ACTUALLY register in your head ...which is why Rahman's songs these days need to be repeatedly listened to ...so that each song can unravel itself more and more ...on every listen ....As an aspiring musician, yes, I'm DEFINITELY in awe of the man ...and shall always remain astounded by his genius ...Every song of his is, by itself, thanks to SHEER COMPLEXITY IN ORCHESTRATION, a lesson in music-making,

BUT...as a layman, who wants good music to relax to, to unwind to..or some peppy, foot-tapping numbers.. ...ARR's songs aren't quite the best of them ...simply because, instead of relaxing your brain, they make you use your brain :) ...they stress your brain - they make it pay attention and attempt to fathom how such an implausible tune has been made .....ARR songs need patience ...an impatient brain will just give up on them because it just can't register or remember them....only a patient brain will sincerely use up days ....decipher the song bit by bit ...before finally getting it registered ....

Like I said earlier ....I'm an impatient fellow :) ...So after a couple of listens, if the song still doesn't register in my head...I tend to give up :) .....which is why VERY FEW ARR songs in recent times have been to my liking ....I know I've used this comparison in the past , but nevertheless ...Harris Jayaraj songs are like Chetan Bhagat's books ...very simple, extremely easy to like..nothing complex about them ....whereas ARR's songs are like books on spirituality ...highly-detailed, highly substantial ...but demand a LOT of patience ...one can hardly like them INSTANTLY ...which is why I feel that Rahman's songs these days are appreciated mainly by the urban class and those who know music, (apart from ARR-maniacs..of course :P ...who'll appreciate it & claim it as the greatest piece of music in the century even if a song of his has just the sound of water flowing and wind blowing :P :P ) ...and laymen, common men ...prefer simple, hummable music from the likes of Harris, Yuvan, GVP etc ....

Very few Rahman songs in recent times have been to my liking - Irumbile Oru IrudhayamArima ArimaAthiradee KaaranAnbe Aaruyire ( title song ), Aye Hairate ( Guru ), a few songs of Ada ( MeherbaanGumsum Gumsum ) ...Yuvraaj ( Tu Hi meri dost haiTu muskura ) ...Kannukkul Kannai , Uyire unnai unnai endhan from VTV ..to name a few...all these songs have good, soulful and definite tunes ...not tunes which randomly meander in no particular direction ...which is why I like them ....



And finally ..coming to the topic of the post :P ...the one I love the most - Lattoo Lattoo .....The song begins with the chord formed by the combination of these keys - C, D, D#,F,G ( assuming C-scale ) ...I dunno what this combination is called ...but I've heard it before in Rangeela ...Pyaar yeh jaane kaisa hai I think ....Anyways, very soon, some sci-fi-ish sounds take over, with Neil Armstrong's words on the moon...followed by an announcement - "Kirsten ( ? ) Kindly rebase here ...The Eagle Has Landed,,,,Jai Hind" ...it ends with an awesome loop twitch ....I dunno how to describe that sound ...

Then begins one of the best parts of the song :) :) :) ...just typing about it without even listening to it ...puts a huge smile on my face :) :) :) :) - "Nachayenge" ..Although the way it's sung sounds like "Na Jaayiye" ...along with Spanish guitars ...the way it begins is awesome !!! 

Finally we're on the chorus, Shreya Ghoshal arrives on the scene ...and takes over with the chorus ( the harmony  ...The orchestration in this song is VERY SIMPLE....and VERY BASIC ...the bass is also very basic, apt...yet, very evident - Cm, G#m, A# M, Gm I think ( assuming C-scale ) ....There's a small gap between the first chorus and when the first pallavi begins ...which is filled by a humming "ey la la ey la la ..le la " ...wonderful !!! :) ...the pallavi begins ....and after a couple of lines, with a synth-lead fill-in...comes another AWESOME set of lines - "Aaj yeh kaun aaya ...khushbuon sa chaaya" - the chords as well as the bass sequence for this set of lines is MIND-BLOWING !! :) ...truly elevates the song ...ONLY TO BE ELEVATED FURTHER ...by MY FAVORITE PART OF THE SONG :) :) :) :) :) - "Ow wow yaar ..yaar yaar yaar" :) :) ...I just ABSOLUTELY ADORE the way this part is tuned ...as well as rendered by Shreya ..completely brings in a whole new side of her !!!! :) :) ...The way she sings "Yaar yaar" in the 3rd line ...is THE BEST PART OF THE SONG :) :) :) ...That moment in the song holds the highest merit IMO ...The choir's accompaniment when they say just "Yaar Yaar" & let Shreya complete the line is ...SUPER-AWESOME !!! :) :) ...KUDOS to ARR for such thought !! :) GENIUS !! 

The first interlude has a Harris-like gibberish humming ...about "Zimbabwe" ( ?? ) ...but it is ABSOLUTELY catchy ...I know the humming by heart :D :D ....anyway, it finally leads to the charanam ...where the beats pause for a minute ...one can notice how AWESOME the bass is ...at this portion ...before the beats once again pick up ....and a layer of synth gets added on to the "luft kya….. uski ashiqui mein hai…usko ghoonth ghoonth…main pee loon… " lines to provide a haunting effect ...before getting back to the punch-packed chorus :) ...the harmony really adds a punch effect to the chorus ...

The song has only one charanam ...after which the pallavi repeats ....This time, in the "yaar yaar" part ...I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE ADDITIONAL LAYER TO BITS :) :) :) :) :) - where the choir sings "yaar yaar yaar yaar yaaaaaaar yaaar" very rapidly ....and Shreya sings a variation of the line the 3rd time ...Again, this variation is also TIED ALONG WITH THE FIRST VARIATION ...AS THE BEST PART OF THE SONG :) :) :) :) ...BLOODY BRILLIANT stuff by Shreya and Rahman :) :) :) :) ...Before they begin the chorus ...these is a bit where "yaar yaar" is chanted...with gaps - this part has no bass, just the beat synth & the chants ...AWESOME !!!!! :) :) ...The chorus begins again ....and ends with a gibberish rap ...I like the addition of the classical guitar sound at the 3rd line of the gibberish ...the song ends with the words "Spinnin like a top ...round and round and round " ...WHEW !!! :D that's how it feels each time I listen to the song .....and I bet that's how it probably feels for those of you who have even read the post up to this point :D :P 



So yes, I still can't believe that of all people, Rahman has done such a simple song with basic orchestration ...This can easily pass off as a Harris song or even a Pritam song ...hehe ..for Rahman, his numbers are so experimental these days...they've become the norm...that "run-of-the-mill" stuff is ACTUALLY something DIFFERENT from him !! :) :).....Though he only makes more and more fans of his proud with his extraordinary orchestration and arrangement ....I really wish for such simple, tune-based songs from him...once in a while :) :) ..

Well, that's about my MOST FAVORITE ARR SONG IN RECENT TIMES :) :) SURELY, the best song from Ghajini IMHO...Oh yeah, the video too :P - Jiah Khan is SMOKING HAWT !!!!!! :D :D ..... *DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOL* :D :D ....This song reminds me of my MS days, in Columbus, OH :) ...brings back nostalgia ...of how this song used to calm me down ..during those tension-filled days as a research assistant ...I would listen to it everywhere !!! :) :) ....and of course, one of my friends, who used to talk to me a lot & used to be close to me, once upon a time....had this habit of saying "yaar" for every sentence :D...I remember how we used to make fun of her by singing this song !! :) :) hehe ...fun times !!! :)


I am one of the luckiest persons on earth - Shreya Ghoshal sang this LIVE in Columbus ..although just in few lines ...ON MY REQUEST !!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) ....God bless Shreya G !!!!!! :) :) ....She's probably NEVER gonna sing this song in ANY of her concerts ...so I know how lucky I am !! :) :) ...

Well, that's it ...for those of you who've read up to the end ...congratulations on your patience! :D ...and thanks :) ...and I hope those who've read this post expecting comedy ...have had a good laugh !!! 

Cheers,
Ashwin.







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